I spent last weekend in Oklahoma City enjoying one of the more (most?) inspiring and consistently awesome gatherings in North America. You may call it a "fest," but Everything Is Not OK is truly a coming together of freaks and mutants and like minded bizarros more than a collection of cool bands...but the bands are sick too. I came home with a decent haul of new shits, but felt immediately inclined to revisit some favorites from my trip to EINOK two years ago. Lots of bangers from that year's epic haul have shown up in these pages, but the high speed tru-freek hardcore of Chicago's 86 GEMINI has remained in my ears and on the shelf until today. It's the raw and indulgently affected sounds of the mid '00s but these kids are fast as shit, cranking through four tracks in well over six minutes. The guitar solo on "They Built A Beach" (all nine seconds of it) is worth the price of admission on its own, and the rest of the jams contained are of the highest caliber. You'll bounce, you'll bob, and before it's over you'll probably smash things....I mean, if you listen at an appropriate volume.
16 March 2018
A glorious and chaotic one hour compilation of Yugoslavian punk and hardcore from mid 1980's Yugoslavia, the title alone should be all that you need to know that you need this in your life. BLITZKRIEG, PATARENI, Z.R.M., FRUSTRACIJA, KRIVO SRASTANJE, G.B.M., K.S.O., and some shamelessly endearing pop from LE CINEMA & MIRA to close the whole thing out. With the exception of PATARENI (whose brand of pure speed is still stunning 30+ years later), most of this flies well under the radar...we would all be well advised to rectify that.
14 March 2018
It's possible that this relic is from an unmemorable ANCIENT CHINESE PENIS weekend mini-tour to Dallas and Lubbock, but it's also possible that I just acquired it somewhere. I tend to acquire things. Anthropologically speaking, LOW TOLERANCE were a small college town band that seemed to be juggling an array of early '90s influences - primarily late '80s North American punk and an upswell of grunge. They managed to do so and retain a shred of integrity (more than I can say for myself), and at least half of the tracks on this 1993 cassette are objectively decent....and some are pretty good. We should all be so lucky.
A stunningly stark presentation of electronic drone from RAKTA's Carla Boregas...absolutely peaceful and positively beautiful. I thought that I had lost my copy of this cassette during one of the dark moments that The Universe pulls over us, but was extremely pleased to recently rediscover it. Instead of typing my typical drivel, I spent two passes lying on the floor and just....listening. And 42 minutes later, I didn't really have anything to say. Whether Carla said it all for me or took the words out of me is irrelevant - the point is that I was in a better place when I finished that I was when I started. The journey isn't always pleasant, but we can hope that the journey is worth the effort.
13 March 2018
I guess it's a shame that every melodic punk band from France will be compared to LA FRACTION, but then I suppose there's nothing wrong with keeping your standards high, so why not compare them all to the best? DÉFAITE hit the same verve - I know the two bands sound nothing alike (aside from, and I I can't figure out exactly why, the bass guitar - go figure) but this is (still) my blog so I'm gonna stick with that assessment. It's just exceptional melodic punk that makes me feel good for liking punk and makes me feel like it's OK to be alive. And that should be more than enough....right?
12 March 2018
This band started right around the time we left Milwaukee in the late(r) '00s. They thrived on being awful, they bragged about being awful, they laughed when they talked about how awful they were...and so I never went to see them. I mean, I like things that are shitty, but only (or, mostly) when they are trying to be good and failing miserably. A bunch of people who know better AND are capable of better (the guitar player is in SOLUTIONS for fukk's sake) playing intentionally shit music to be funny? That shit does not interest me in the slightest. So I moved away and I never listened to CRAPPY DRACULA for the reasons stated above. And then Dug gave me a tape on a visit and I thanked him. And then I listened to the tape. Are you kidding me? You could legit file this on the Rough Trade catalog circa 198? and people would swoon. These dicks are either geniuses of the highest order or they are really fukkn shitty at being shitty. Either way....The Lockhorns is well worth your time, even (or especially) if your tolerance for idiocy is higher than the average punker.
11 March 2018
As I write this, I know that these sounds are light years away from where I will be when you read this. I hope that when you read this, I am in a good place....even though I am well aware that giving this release the proper (and deserved) attention will undoubtedly take you to a bad place. It can be important to spend some time in bad places...so please make the most of your journey.
10 March 2018
These LA dudes had an approach to punk that always kinds made me think of a Mexican RUDIMETNS. It was punk, sure, but it was also sometimes fast and fukkd up and kinda unhinged....and the drummer was a freak. It seemed like every time I played in Southern California for a few years, POLISKITZO were on the show. The were never on the flyer, but they always showed up and they always played...and it was always fun as shit (maybe it only happened twice, but that was a lot of beers ago). This 2013 tape is perhaps their last (?), and it's wild and loose and free, just way punk is supposed to be.
09 March 2018
Another in the series of Pandemonium compilations, the Italian installment certainly does not disappoint. Visitors who pay attention have already enjoyed the Iberian and Brazilian editions, but I dare say that this one is even better. I'll spare you the descriptions, just know that this is a crucial collection of seminal Italian hardcore and punk that features my single favorite IMPACT track along with NEROGASMO, CANI, PEDAGO PARTY, BED BOYS, NABAT, LAST CALL, DECLINO, SATAN 81, STIGMATHE, all along with acts that most punks will be more familiar with. Fukkn essential sounds, my friends.
08 March 2018
GREMLYNZ: subdued ambient psychedelia with mesmerizing undertones revealing themselves only as volume increases. AJILVSGA: apocalyptic drone punctuated by bursts of harsh industrial noise and somber vocals. RELEASE: a twenty three some odd minute cassette from 2009. Honestly, do you need more information than this?
07 March 2018
Ummmmmm, someone wanna tell me what the fukk happened here? Like, why am I just getting this 2005 recording into my earholes? How have these five minutes and thirty three seconds of raw DBeat destruction eluded me for more than a decade? Seriously, I wanna know, because this is legitimately some of the fiercest hardcore I have heard in my entire life. Check 1:02-1:04 of "Operation Empire" and that's just a taste of what these kids bring to the table....the noise is perfect, the riffs are secondary to the presentation until you listen to them (pay attention to the verse in "I Am Not Defeated" if you need more than my word), and after the whole thing finishes you just kinda sit there, slack lawed and stunned. There are only four tracks here, but if that's all I (we) get then I will still offer thanks and eternal hails, because I haven't been pummeled like this in ages...and it feels amazing.
06 March 2018
It's pretty amazing how totally pervasive high energy melodic punk was in the '90s. All over the damn world for sure, but I feel like it hit South America particularly hard. And the thing is....if you listen without the cloud of assembly line LAGWAGON clones throwing shade on your good taste and self respect, then bands like MALDITO FLANDERS from Buenos Aires just come off like good, catchy punk. Dated, to be sure (but this was recorded 22 years ago, so "dated" seems reasonable), but "Sin Fronteras" is still a ripper and the slow part in "Un Rincon" suits me just fukkn fine...even (or especially) with the painfully out of tune guitars.
05 March 2018
In the classic TE Monday tradition, and also in the classic '90s political hardcore tradition. Three dual vocal political crust rippers from RAW TOFU, eight guttural dis/crust bangers from AFTER THE MASSACRE (who sound essentially and/or exactly as they are supposed to, considering their moniker). These bands exist by the thousands, and it is our job to celebrate them. So celebrate.
Bonus points for the logos glued to the outside of the case and the cassette shell....
04 March 2018
I got a killer package of Indonesian tapes today from Arian (SERINGAI) and realized that this banger from 2015 has been waiting to be ripped...so I'll care of old business first. A friendly combination of Y2'core and 'crew from two SE Asian acts, it's simple and it's fukkn right. Essential fodder for those who like fast things and those who like to mosh hard. I don't like to mosh, but it makes me happy when other people do.
03 March 2018
Some dude on the internet announced earlier this week that the LOOSE NUKES tape was a ripper. I read that and I thought, "yeah, it fukkn is." A tasteful tinge of crossover thrash in this non-stop riff assault, and everything is tight as a drum. Ten tracks delivered in under twelve minutes, Houston's LOOSE NUKES are worth more than a casual mention on the internet....and now they have (at least) two.